Daily Decay (31st January 2018)

Daily Decay (31st January 2018): Unidentified Mullet (F. Mugilidae) @ Pasir Ris

The remains of numerous fishes were found on the ground below the trees that were occupied by a colony of nesting Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea). It’s likely that these had been dropped by the Herons. There are several different species of Mullets recorded from Singapore waters, and it is difficult to tell many of them apart.

  1. I went to Lim Chu Kang Jetty at about 10pm at high tide and there were some dead fishes clustered at the jetty.
  2. More of the dead fishes at Lim Chu Kang Jetty.
  3. Some look like Milkfish, others look like sea bass?
  4. At around 10.30am today, a concerned nature lover shared sightings of what looked like hundreds of dead fishes floating in Sungei Buloh Besar river with the outgoing tide.
  5. Photo of hundreds of dead fishes taken from Platform 1 at Sungei Buloh facing the fish farms nearby, shared by a concerned nature lover.
  6. Most of the dead fishes documented by the concerned nature lover looked like this and were about the same size.
  7. By the time I got to Sungei Buloh at around 3pm, the tide had already fallen and most of the floating dead fishes washed out of the river. There were some dead fishes stranded on the shore from the mid to low water mark.
  8. I checked out new Sungei Buloh extension (Kranji Nature Trail) and there were some dead fishes scattered along the route.
  9. Most of the dead fishes looked like this and were about the same size.
  10. At around 10.30pm, I stopped by Kranji Dam and also saw a few dead fishes there.

I saw some dead fishes at Lim Chu Kang Jetty tonight.

Earlier this morning at around 10.30am today, a concerned nature lover shared sightings of what looked like hundreds of dead fishes floating into Sungei Buloh Besar with the incoming tide.

I only managed to get there around 3pm and the tide had already gone down. So I saw only some dead fishes at Sungei Buloh Besar as well as the Kranji extension.

Most of the dead fishes were about the same size and look like the Milkfish (Chanos chanos) farmed by the largest fish farm in that area.

Most of the wild fishes seemed alright although there were some Archerfishes (Toxotes sp.) gasping at the water surface at the Main Bridge.

I will check the entire shore again tomorrow.

You CAN make a difference: Dead Fish Alert!

Please help me monitor dead fishes washing up on the Johor Straits. Please let me know if you see large numbers (more than 10) especially of large dead fishes (more than 20cm long) washing up on the northern shores such as Pulau Ubin, Lim Chu Kang, Sungei Buloh, Kranji, Woodlands Waterfront, Sembawang, Punggol, Lorong Halus, Pasir Ris, Changi.

There are too many shores for me to personally check, so I really appreciate any info or photos that you can share. Thank you!

Source: Ria Tan Facebook

Besides Milkfishes, one of the dead fishes photographed at Sungei Buloh is a Grey Mullet (F. Mugilidae), likely a Flathead Grey Mullet (Mugil cephalus), which is also raised by the fish farms off the coast.

Squaretail Mullet (Ellochelon vaigiensis)
Tanah Merah, 10th April 2016

Malaysia: Fish yield to possible poisoning
21st March 2016;

Thousands of fish have turned up dead or dazed in a river in Balik Pulau, Penang, possibly due to discharge from a nearby prawn farm.

Fishermen Mazsari Ismail, who spotted foreign workers collecting the fish from the Kuala Jalan Bahru river at 7am on Saturday, claimed that the farm had discharged water which was not properly treated into the river.

“The discharged water contains a chemical that is poisonous to the fish. We urge the authorities to take action immediately,” he said, claiming that the chemical was usually used to kill fish in ponds but was safe for the prawns.

The dead fish were mostly Catfish (Siluriformes) and Mullet (F. Mugilidae).

“I was surprised to see the foreign workers collecting the fish. I am not sure if they are safe to eat,” Mazsari said.

Another fishermen, who wanted to be known only as Thor, said this was not the first time such a thing had happened.

He said that although the dead fish had little commercial value, the environmental impact was unacceptable.

When contacted, state Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said he had informed the Department of Environment to investigate the matter.

Source: The Star

The river in that area is known as the Sungai Kongsi.

Hundreds of Mullet fish were discovered dead in the river along Sungai Balok Makmur and Sungai Tonggak in Kuantan, Pahang, Jan 5, 2016.

Malaysia: Hundreds of fish found dead in Sungai Balok Makmur and Sungai Tonggak, Pahang
5th January 2016;

Residents of Kampung Seberang Balok Makmur were shocked with the discovery of hundreds of dead Mullets (F. Mugilidae) in Sungai Balok Makmur and Sungai Tonggak here today.

A restaurant operator at the village, Khairul Azmi Yahya, 30, said he realised the odd occurrence where hundreds of fish were found floating on the river and stranded on the banks at 7am, when he was about to open shop.

“It was strange because there were many white objects floating in the river and when I went closer, I realised they were actually Mullets. I wondered why only Mullets were turning up dead, as the fish is known to be highly resistant,” he told Bernama when met here today.

Khairul Azmi added that many residents who were on their way to stopped by to watch and take pictures of the occurrence.

He said, however, the number of fish (being washed up the bank) had declined in the afternoon as they were drifted away by the currents.

“I hope the cause of death of these fish can be informed to the people here, because there are some industries around the river. It is worrying as there could be chemicals that may be harmful to health or to children who play in the water here” he said.

Meanwhile, another restaurant operator Rafizah Abdul Rahman, 25, hoped all the fish would be swept away by high tides this evening, as she feared the stench of dead fish may affect her customers or residents in the village.

Meanwhile, Pahang Fisheries director Adnan Hussain when contacted confirmed the department had received a report on the death of the fish and they had collected samples to determine the cause of the incident.

“We have taken water samples and tested certain parameters such as the rate of dissolved oxygen, turbidity levels and the pH of the water in the area,” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

A man stands near dead fishes on the banks of Sungai Tongak in Kuantan today.
Photos: Afif Abd Halim

Malaysia: Dead fish leave Kuantan residents uneasy over bauxite spills
By Muzliza Mustafa, 5th January 2016;

Hundreds of dead fish washed up in Sungai Toggek in Gebeng, Pahang, this morning have put residents in the area on alert to the possibility of bauxite contamination.

Businessman Idahar Zulkupli, 40, said this is the first time he saw the dead fish washed up from the river in the area and feared it could be because of bauxite mining.

Idahar, who has lived in the area since childhood, said that the suspicion was valid as the state was hit by the effects from uncontrolled bauxite mining.

“I cannot say for sure that bauxite was the cause of what happened today but i fear that this could be the reason. It can also be because of the chemical accidentally released by the factories from the industrial area here,” said Idahar.

He added that two days prior to today’s incident, the water at Pantai Balok went murky.

“It was pretty bad. It’s not the normal sea water. It smells of dirt, earth. Then this happened. I can’t help thinking that this could be because of bauxite,” said the man.

The dead fish along Toggek River were spotted by passers-by at 8.30am who then alerted the authorities, including the Fisheries Department.

PAS’s Beserah state assemblyman Andansuran Rabu said that the agency came at about 10am to take dead fish and water samples from the scene and would be sending it to the Chemistry Department for tests.

“All we want is for the result to be made available to all once it’s ready. We do not know if it’s from bauxite but people are scared,” he said.

He added that the river is also near to bauxite stockpile storage.

“The storage is on top of a hill some 1.5km from the river. When it rained, the water will flow into the river,” he said.

Rampant bauxite mining has been blamed for turning rivers and the shoreline off Kuantan, on Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast, red after two days of heavy rain earlier last week.

Since Kuantan ramped up its mining of bauxite for export to China last year, residents in the area have complained about pollution, caused by red dust from the mining and leakage from lorries transporting bauxite to the Kuantan port.

It was reported that in the first 11 months of 2015, Malaysia exported more than 20 million tonnes of bauxite to China, up nearly 700% on the previous year.

In 2013, it only shipped around 162,000 tonnes.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

A week after the “red sea” phenomenon at Balok beach here, nearby villagers were in for another shock today when they found hundreds of dead fish floating in Sungai Tonggak near Gebeng.
Photo: Farizul Hafiz Awang

Malaysia: Dead fish nothing unusual: Pahang state fisheries director
By T.N. Alagesh, 5th January 2016;

A week after the “red sea” phenomenon at Balok beach here, nearby villagers were in for another shock today when they found hundreds of dead fish floating in Sungai Tonggak near Gebeng.

However, State fishery authorities claim that initial tests revealed the cause of the dead fish most likely had nothing to do with the recent phenomenon.

Balok Makmur Rukun Tetangga chairman Abdul Rahman Ali, 57, said villagers spotted dead ikan belanak (Mullet) (F. Mugilidae) washed up on the sand banks during low tide about 7.30am.

He said as far as he knew, there were no bauxite stockpiles near the river banks.

“However, the contaminated water might have come from other sources including the drains or maybe the (contaminated) red sea waters last week killed the fish before being swept by currents into this part of the river.

"As villagers sometimes cast their nets in the river, I hope the authorities will conduct checks to confirm if the fish in the river is safe for consumption,” he said when met today.

Meanwhile, Ab Razak Musa, 56, from Taman Seberang Balok said it was the second time such an incident occurred in the village.

“A similar incident occurred some time ago but there were fewer dead fish compared to now.

"With the bauxite issue a hot topic, we cannot rule out any possibility that river contamination from bauxite has killed the fish,” he said.

Meanwhile State Fisheries director Adnan Hussain said his officers had conducted several tests and collected water samples for analysis.

“After some tests by our officers, the results showed that the incident was nothing unusual.

"Initial tests showed the (cause of) dead fish had nothing to do with silt and mud. No other rivers here are affected except for Sungai Tonggak,” he said.

He said a detailed report on the incident was expected to be complete in a week.

Source: New Straits Times

Indonesia: Thousands of fish found dead in Ancol

1st December 2015;

Thousands of dead fish of various species washed up along Ancol beach in North Jakarta on Monday, allegedly due to toxin contamination from nearby rivers.

“Ancol management reported that it had found many dead fish on its beach early on Monday morning. When we arrived at the scene, there was around a ton of fish washed up on it,” said law enforcement head of Jakarta Water Police division Comr. Edi Guritno.

He added that there were various types of fish, such as Snapper (F. Lutjanidae), Mullet (F. Mugilidae), Grouper (SubF. Epinephelinae) and Milkfish (Chanos chanos).

According to Edi, after the report, the water police immediately took measures to remove the dead fish from the coastline, as well as investigating the cause of their deaths.

He added that the police, in cooperation with Ancol management, had deployed a pickup truck and plastic bags to take the fish from the shore to the Ancol garbage dump, where they would be burned.

Edi said the police had sent samples of the fish and sea water to the Jakarta Maritime, Agriculture and Food Security Agency (KPKP) for scientific examination to confirm the cause of death.

Nonetheless, Edi said that the Ancol management and residents suspected that the fish had died of poisoning from pollutants carried by rivers that flowed into the sea in the Ancol area.

Separately, head of the KPKP’s fisheries division, Lilik Litasari, offered a similar interpretation.

Lilik told reporters that she had met with a number of Ancol management staff and residents and also examined the condition of the water.

Based on her preliminary investigation, she concluded that the waters had been contaminated with hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a colorless poison carried in the mud from the rivers. According to her, the H2S deprived the sea water of oxygen, causing the death of the fish.

According to her, the poisonous mud had possibly flowed to the sea during rain last Friday and Saturday.

“This is a phenomenon that usually occurs early in the rainy season after a long drought. A large volume of water flows from the land to the sea, carrying along sediment that has been deposited in the rivers,” Lilik said.

However, Lilik emphasized that the current theory was only based on the preliminary analysis and that the agency would make a final conclusion after receiving results from the laboratory.

She revealed that Monday’s incident was not the first for Ancol’s management, as it had experienced a similar phenomenon previously, although not with an amount of dead fish as large as this.

Ancol management said that a similar incident occurred three years ago.

According to Pembangunan Jaya Ancol corporate communications manager Rika Lestari, the management had predicted Monday’s incident for over a week before the dead fish were discovered.

“A week ago, our field officers predicted this would occur as they saw foam on the sea water,” Rika said.

She added that in the name of safety the management was currently asking beach visitors not to swim on the beach.

Responding to the issue, an environmental activist from Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Mukri Friatna, urged the Jakarta administration to quickly examine the quality of its sea water considering that Monday’s incident was not the first of its kind.

He said that by examining the sea water the administration could identify what substances were in the water and thus discover if the water was polluted because of natural toxins or a result of bad waste management.

“In the end, they [the officials] can decide the best measures to reduce contamination in Jakarta’s seas,” Mukri said.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Thousands of fish found dead in Ancol

Baffling fish kill: Fisherman Zhahiran Sabu showing the dead fish found in Sungai Bayan Lepas. Photo: Chan Boon Kai

Malaysia: Probe into mystery of mass fish deaths
14th July 2015;

The Department of Environment has launched an investigation into the mass fish deaths in Sungai Bayan Lepas.

Various officers from the department were seen collecting water samples at the site yesterday for testing. The result of the test is expected to be out in two weeks.

Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris said various fish species were found dead in the river on Sunday.

“The fish are Mullet (belanak) (F. Mugilidae), gelama (Croaker) (F. Sciaenidae) and duri (Sea Catfish) (F. Ariidae).”

“We were told by the affected fishermen that the river water is frequently black and oily.”

“The pollution spreads from the river to the sea, endangering the fish and prawns which form the fishermen’s catch,” he said in a press statement.

Malaysian Nature Society Penang branch adviser D. Kanda Kumar said the cause of the fish deaths could not be the hot weather.

“If it is the hot weather, then every river in the state will be effected as well.

"It has to be due to some human activity taking place upstream that is polluting the river,” he said when contacted.

He advised residents nearby to contact the authorities if they see any illegal discharge of waste into the river.

Penang Gerakan Youth secretary Ooi Zhi Yi urged the government to take stern action against the culprits.

“This is the fourth fish death case within a short period after Sungai Kerian in Nibong Tebal, Sungai Tasek Cempedak in Seberang Prai Selatan and Sungai Dondang in Paya Terubong,” Ooi said in a statement.

State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said they would do a survey of the area to identify the possible cause while waiting for the lab results.

Those with any information can contact the Penang Island City council at 04-2637637 or the Seberang Prai Municipal Council at 04-5372658.

Source: The Star

Sad sight: Hundreds of dead fish littering the river at Sungai Bayan Lepas in Penang.

Malaysia: Pollution suspected in mass fish deaths
13th July 2015;

A strong stench permeated the air as hundreds of dead fish littered the mouth of Sungai Bayan Lepas.

To make matters worse, flies had a feast after the water level subsided in Permatang Damar Laut.

The sudden mass fish death has raised environmental concerns among residents and fishermen living nearby.

Fisherman Saidin Ismail, 69, who has been fishing in the area for decades, said the sight of dead fish shocked him.

“It’s happened before but never this severe. Last year, there were dead fishes floating in the river but it was never this much. This could be due to pollution,” he said.

State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said water samples had been sent to the laboratory for tests.

He said Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and Department of Environment (DOE) officers visited the site to conduct checks.

“They took away water samples. It will take around two weeks for the results to be out.

"According to DOE, the dead fish are Mullets (F. Mugilidae) which are usually near the river mouth.”

“The incident could be due to pollution at the river mouth,” he said in a statement.

Source: The Star